The movie was adapted by Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb, John Milius (uncredited), Howard Sackler (uncredited) and Robert Shaw (uncredited) from the novel by Benchley. It was directed by Steven Spielberg.
It won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score (John Williams) and Best Sound. It was also nominated for Best Picture. The film is consistently on the Internet Movie Database's list of top 250 films and was #48 on American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movies and #2 on its 100 Years, 100 Thrills. In 2001 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
It was filmed at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In a bit of serendipity, the mechanical shark didn't work most of the time so Spielberg was forced to shoot many of the scenes with the shark only hinted at. This is widely thought to have increased the suspense of many scenes. Another key factor was John Williams' acclaimed film score, especially the main theme that became a classic piece of suspense music, synominous with approaching danger whenever the shark went for the kill.